Going on vacation… but one more thing…

September 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm (Internet surfing) (, , )

Just a quick note to say why I haven’t been posting and won’t be posting next week: First of all, I’ve been working on other projects to get ready for my vacation next week! :-D And, obviously, the reason I’m not going to be posting next week is because I’ll be on vacation! :-D I’m excited if you haven’t guessed!

By the way, I haven’t had a chance to try it out for myself, but I keep reading about Opera 10. Opera is a browser, a competitor of Internet Explorer or Firefox, but not too prominently known so far. Opera is a proprietary (not open source like Chrome and Firefox) software company. They actually make all kinds of programs, like a mail server and gadgets for your phone, etc. I don’t know all the details, but I plan to research them more soon.

Even though Opera holds only a small market share of the Internet browers users, they are still well loved by a small group of loyal fans and constantly coming up with a new and better browser–just like all of the other little guys.

Anyway, Opera version 10 recently came out, although I’ve been hearing about it months ago when the beta version was released. This version isn’t that astoundingly advanced with tons of new features or anything, but it’s getting a lot of attention for its “turbo mode”, a setting that is made just for dial-up users (yay that’s for me!) to accelerate web page loading, etc. They say it works miracles! Ok, not really, but clearly I’m interested. Anyone who has dial-up (shout out to my fellow 11 million-ish U.S. dial-upers!) can appreciate something that will make dial-up internet services faster, right?!!

So, since I’m trying to keep up with the times but unfortunately don’t have time to download it now or review here until maybe two weeks from now, I still wanted to quickly mention it. I’m not giving my thumbs up just yet, but you might wanna take a look.

It’s a free download, just go to www.opera.com, and click the green “Download Opera” button. Have you already tried it? Let me know what you think! Have a great weekend and next week!

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Internet Explorer 8: Worth an Upgrade?

July 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , , , )

Internet Explorer is known for its majority claim on the Internet browser market share and it’s close ties to the Windows operating system. Microsoft continue to flourish and says their new browser is worthwhile and better than ever! Here are a few ways IE8 exceeds it’s previous version.

One unique feature of IE8 is the accelerators. These tools save further browsing time by turning popular searches into a simple right-click function. For example, you can highlight an address, right click on it, and choose the “Bing Maps” feature (similar to Google Maps, or Mapquest). Another smaller window slides out with a small map showing the location of that address and a link to get to directions. This saves you the time you would spend opening a new window and copy/pasting the address on a mapping website.

You can see search results on popular sites such as Google, Dictionary.com, and Wikipedia. First, highlight a keyword(s) on the web site you are viewing, like “Tiramisu” for example, and right click. Choose the accelerator of your choice to see a mini page with Tiramisu search results on Google, or the dictionary or Wikipedia entry at a glance (Tiramisu is, by the way, a delectable Italian dessert!). There are a variety of accelerators available that may interest you, some using Microsoft sites like Bing and MSN, and others using popular sites, including YouTube and Facebook.

Web slices are another new IE8 feature that is available for select webpages (indicated by the green web slice icon at the top of the page). Web slices allows you to see a small “slice” of the pages you want to check regularly, without searching for or loading the webpage.

For example, if you are bidding on an Ebay item, you can add a slice for that particular item (instead of the whole webpage) to your new favorites bar at the top of the page. When the slice has new information, like another person bidding on your item, the slice title become bold. You can click on the slice to see a mini page with your item, increase the bid, or read the new information, etc. Other slices available show news, stocks, weather, sports, etc. The new favorites bar displays your slices along the top of the screen similar to tabs for easy access.

IE8 has some feature with which you may be familiar. Similar to Google Chrome, IE8 has “tab isolation” that prevents the whole browser window from crashing if one tab malfunctioning and “In-private browsing” that allows you to surf without saving history and files to your computer. Like Firefox, if your browser window closes unexpectedly, you can restore all your tabs to the previous session. Like the Google toolbar feature, you can restore recently closed tabs into the same window if you accidentally close a tab.

Internet Explorer 8 also is equipped with newer technology that promises more security and speed. To read more about the security features, check out microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer. Whether it is really faster than other browsers is up for debate, depending on how testing is done and what pages are tested. The best way to know if it works better is to try it out for yourself. Based on your Internet services connection speed and surfing habits, you may be able to load pages faster with Internet Explorer 8. Keep in mind that it is good practice to back up your files and create a restore point before you install IE8. If you do decide to download IE8, check out browserforthebetter.com if you want your download to help feed the hungry.

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Chrome: Surfing the Internet Google-Style

July 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , )

The idea behind Google creating their own web browser was to start from scratch on a program that was made for today’s Internet services. They wanted to make a browser that’s simple and neat, but complicated in it’s security, speed, and functionality.

Google openly used features that have already been implemented on other browsers, they credit Mozilla (who created the Firefox browser) and Apple (who created the Webkit program they used) for ideas on how to create Chrome. An example of some borrowed features you’ll see is bookmarks. You can automatically transfer your bookmarks and favorites from your old browser and save new bookmarks instantly by clicking the star next to your address bar, features identical to Firefox.

Google uses the “tab” feature that most browsers have now adopted. Chrome reflects Google’s way of making products personalized and convenient, using the features they have on their search page and Google toolbar. For example, every time a new tab is opened, instead of white space under the address bar, you will see a layout of thumbnails of previous and often visited websites to choose from, based on your previous surfing. Once you begin typing in the address bar, Google suggests previously visited sites and popular sites, and prompts to run a Google search on the keyword(s) you are typing. It’s like a mini Google search feature in your address bar.

If you want to surf discreetly, for Christmas shopping for example, you can use the incognito window to surf undetected by your computer. It delivers the pages as read-only, and no history or files from these sites are saved on your computer. Simply open the incognito window in a new tab and continue your normal surfing on the other tabs.

Another unique feature of Google Chrome is the task manager. Just like the task manager for Windows, Chrome allows you to track the usage and functionality of each process running on your browser. Not only can you detect with add-on, tab, or other process that is using the most bandwidth, you can end processes individually without disrupting the other processes. The “Crash Control” feature, letting each tab run separately so an individual tab crashing won’t shut down the whole browser, is very handy to avoid losing all of your tabs when one web page is causing problems.

Like any other browser, Google Chrome claims to be the safest and the fastest, implementing their own ideas to how to tackle these areas. Since page loading speed is dependent on so many factors, from the applications and features on each individual webpages, to the connection speed and applications of the individual computers veiwing the Internet, it would be difficult to actually measure one browser speed to another. For example, Google Chrome uses Javascript to run web applications, but a website that is not created for Javascript may not load nearly as quickly as on Internet Explorer using ActiveX.

You may be surprised at the speed at which you can load webpages on Google chrome. Speeds will vary based on your computer, Internet connection, and surfing habits, so try it out if you want to know how it will work for you. You can also check out the website, google.com/chrome to download the product, read about more features in detail, and learn about what security measures have been taken in the creation of this browser.

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5 Tips for Speeding Up Your Dial-up Connection

June 16, 2009 at 11:25 am (Dial up) (, , , , )

So you’re stuck on dial-up for one reason or another, and there are days you’re about to go out of your mind. Many websites are being made with interactive banners and ads, streaming audio and video clips, and colorful flash programs that dial-up can barely load, or not at all. Here are a few things you may not have thought to try before. These tips will help you maximize your online experience.

Focus your surfing. Keep your browsing to one window at a time. Or, toggle between two pages. While your email homepage is loading, you can log into your bank account. Close any tabs and pages that you are no longer using as soon as you get the chance. Create favorites or bookmarks so you load the page you want right away. Some welcome screens and ad pages give you a small link to click of you want to skip it. You don’t always need the whole web page to load. Click the stop button at the top of the browser if you already see the part of the page you want. If you see the link you’re looking for, you don’t need to wait to click on that link.

Eliminate programs running in the background. Your anti-virus program or Window’s updates could be downloading updates when you’re trying to check your email. Your messenger program could be automatically connecting every time you go online to pay a bill. Try to install updates and download programs at a time that you aren’t trying to view web pages. Close the weather programs, messengers, etc., that require an Internet connection if you are not using them. You can often change the options in these programs to not start up automatically or change the schedule of the updates.

Save big downloads for when you’re not surfing. You can connect first thing in the morning and update your anti-virus, etc., while you’re eating breakfast or getting ready for work. When you’re checking your email or reading the news later, you don’t have to worry about sharing your bandwidth with your necessary updates. Let your large downloads run overnight and install them the next day. You can also save large files to a flash drive while you’re at the library or a coffee shop with free wireless service and install them when you get home.

Clear your caches frequently. Your Internet browser saves files, cookies, history, etc., every time you open a web page. This is handy for going back and forth between the pages you visited that day or week, but eventually your browser becomes bogged down with all the extra files. It’s good practice to completely clear out all your stored files every six weeks or months, depending on how much you surf on a daily basis. You should find these options on your tools menu of your browser.

Try a different browser. If you have a Microsoft Windows, your computer came with Internet Explorer and you probably surf with this browser. There are other browsers, most of them free to download, that are compatible with most websites. Your surfing speed could be transformed simply by using a faster browser. Some browsers come with accelerators and features that load web pages faster. Three of the most popular browsers include; Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. Try all three or ask around to figure out which one is the fastest or best for your surfing needs.

There are more ways to boost your connection speed that you may find helpful. Your ISP may offer accelerators or different access numbers you could try. You may also need to upgrade to a better modem (V.92 is the latest) or replace your phone lines. You may also need to clean up your computer by uninstalling unnecessary programs or defragmenting the hard drive. Check with your local computer technician for more information.

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